Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Scholarship, musicianship, engineering excellence

The new Giovanni Gabrieli recording from Stephen Cleobury is a really deluxe package. It includes both an SACD hybrid disc and a Pure Audio Blu-ray disc, along with a fascinating booklet full of detail about the compositions and recording. The music is from the Symphonie Sacrae collection made in 1615, two years after Gabrieli’s death. It includes a new Quem Vidistis reconstruction by Hugh Keyte, and many beauties of vocal and instrumental music. The striking thing about this music is how natural and vital and alive it seems; there is no hint of scholarly mustiness. The stage is set with an outstanding In ecclesiis (a 14), one of the greatest works of the Renaissance. And though the high solo part was originally sung by a falsettist, this performance by treble Gabriel May is by far my favourite. I like, as well, the trebles singing the soprano parts in the choir, which is outstanding. The combination of scholarship, musicianship and engineering puts this at the top of the Gabrieli heap.

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